Born in 1945 at the close of World War II, Kiefer grew up in the shadow and shame of the Third Reich. In a fractured Germany in which classical art had been marred by Nazi appropriation, Kiefer's German identity was a fundamental obstacle: how can one reclaim or renegotiate a new identity for German culture?
Studying informally under Joseph Beuys in the early 1970s, Kiefer began weaving alternative narratives, rewriting our collective post-war history with threads of folklore, mysticism and a relentless questioning of the human experience. By the 1980s his concerns expanded from Germany to the wider fate of art, picking up interests in the Old and New testaments, Kabbalah, philosophy and the poetry of Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann. The relationship between history, art and spirituality, runs as an enduring thread that binds his oeuvre.
Kiefer is know for the breathtaking scale of his works which have grown with time. He has also incorporated increasingly unconventional materials into his paintings from clay, ash, earth, lead, and fabric to dried flowers. The resulting encrusted, impasto surfaces maintain a unique vibrancy. When looking through this surface into the image that it substantiates, one’s vision fluctuates between opaque abstraction and the lucid visions into another realm, as if some interference in an old video image, a mutated memory.
Hung chronologically the show is part retrospective, part new works, including pieces made specifically for the RA London’s main galleries. Following Kiefer’s gargantuan leaning towers entitled Jericho from 2007, which proved to be the most ambitious and striking installations in the RA courtyard to date, most excitingly we will see another large-scale installation at the centre of Burlington House. This time a glass vitrine with lead boats and the evocation of naval battles serves as a striking prelude to the show ahead. This current art exhibition is not to be missed, and with the RA operating as a late opening gallery every Friday, the gallery is a must see place in London this autumn. Book tickets in advance.
|What||Anselm Kiefer, Royal Academy of Arts|
|Where||Royal Academy, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Green Park (underground)|
27 Sep 14 – 14 Dec 14, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
|Price||£14 (£9 concessions)|
|Website||Click here fo more information and to book via the Royal Academy|